Thursday, July 26, 2012

Johnny the Human Puddle

People my age and younger have begun dropping like flies, and I often find myself wondering which of the various diseases that have claimed them will eventually send me an email asking, “You didn’t honestly think I wasn’t going to get you too, did you?” At this moment, though, it doesn’t seem that it’s a disease that will kill me, but the feelings of purposelessness, boredom, and despair from which I’ve suffered pretty nearly all my life, and which seem to become more threatening with age.

Having no work: the silent killer. I love to hurl myself at huge undertakings, but have nothing to work on but my own stuff. I wake up in the morning and wonder how I’m going to spend the next 16 hours so as to make them feel even a little bit meaningful or satisfying. The world’s wanting nothing from me is excruciating.

Early this year, I wrote a dozen half-hour radio comedy scripts for submission to the BBC. Their spurning the first half-dozen (even though they’re inexpressibly brilliant, to one extent or another) led me to believe it was futile to send any of the others. I then tried to get a foothold as a maker of personal legacy films. No takers. I made several videos, musical and otherwise, as my comic alter ego Manny Finkelman. I worked very hard on them, and a lot of people were amused. The most watched, though, was seen by fewer than 2000. An American girl with very large breasts who pretends to be giving lessons in Japanese gets literally millions of view.

I started a spoof campaign to get my little corner of England to secede from the UK and apply for American statehood. That amused a local newspaper and the local BBC, put not a penny into my pocket, and led to no work. A couple of months ago, desperate for something to do, I began writing a novel, of which I produced around 30,000 words, even though my existing three full-length novels and two short story collections on Amazon are selling a combined total of zero copies per month. I sent query letters to several dozen UK agents, two of whom agreed to have a look. They’ve both now said thanks anyway.

I’ve always felt that I’m a better graphic designer (and actor, and songwriter) than writer, but there are times when I wish the world were rather less intent on affirming that judgment, especially when nobody’s interested in my other abilities.

Normally, I’d be Johnny the Human Puddle at the moment, devastated, but I’m somehow fighting off the familiar feelings of worthlessness and futility. I’m reminding myself how I always used to exhort my prone-to-misery mother to play the cards that life had dealt her, rather than those she felt herself to deserve, and that any of the people my age who’ve died recently would kill to be in my position. I’m reminding myself of the wise words of Ms. Rita Ovens, the last psychotherapist to whom I appealed for succour (two years ago, in New York): “If your blog has attracted 18 subscribers, you’re going to have to find a way for 18 to be enough.”

I’m heartened by the fact that an old friend of the missus, an accomplished musician, is composing music for the huge armful of lyrics I wrote while relaxing on the edge of the Aegean in May. I’m heartened that the proprietress of nearby Broadstairs’ chicquest bed-and-breakfast has invited me to perform — for actual pay! — my one-man show Wm. Floggin’ Buckley as part of her series of showcases of local talent.

Maybe I’ll get through this.  


  1. Holy moly! No comments after a post like that? Well, I for one hope you're still here, even though I never met you. Why? Well, through your own efforts, you've managed to take up a good deal of neuronal real estate in the "me" that is my brain/self - YOU'RE the guy that wrote the Kinks Kronikles liner notes (and possibly also the liner notes to Zapped?), and all that funny stuff in Creem I read and - no lie, this is not someone you know writing this to make you feel good, I assure you that are paths have never crossed - I even bought the Christopher Milk album because I knew who you were and thought the the title was fucking awesome. Fuck, dude - at least YOU got to play drums with Ron and Russell Mael (which I just learned in their Wiki, which is how I got to yours and then here) ---- if you feel that you've accomplished nothing think about how the rest of us 99.999999% non-entities must feel! You're the friggin FAMOUS JOHN MENDELSHON anyway - we're friggin nothing! Nobody'll ever read ANYTHING I write and get a laugh out of it and have it stuck somewhere in the back of their brain space forever. Can you take any little comfort in that? All I gotta say is that you should --- and oh yeah, now that I found this site, I'll keep checking back. Chin up, champ! You're not forgotten!

  2. With your writing c.v., you should make some agent drool spittle at the thought of garnering ducats representing you. Not your other endeavors, sorry to report. Most everyone involved in pop culture for the last half century knows your writing even if the younger edition fails to associate same with your name. THAT'S actually marketable. Have someone else do the heavy lifting.

  3. You could be qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.